How to Install Baseboard
There's a tad more to it than coping the joints.
Synopsis: This is a short article that offers the basics on installing baseboard, with illustrations showing how a built-up baseboard is constructed as well as the difference between mitered and coped inside corners.
Baseboard installation is often done badly. Why? Probably because it comes at the end of the job, after the crowns and casings, and carpenters are anxious to wind things up so they can get on to new projects. Or it may be because it’s uncomfortable work done on hands and knees, with a lot of getting up and kneeling down. But maybe it’s just because a lot of carpenters don’t know how to do it right.
Shapes and styles
Baseboards are used to cover any gaps that occur at the juncture of walls and floors, and they also protect the lower wall from dings and scrapes. Visually they give weight, definition, and presence to the wall, working with the crown molding and corners to “frame the wall.” Baseboards are usually made of the same wood that’s used for trim elsewhere in the house, and they can be either hardwood or softwood. The central part of the back face of baseboard stock is plowed away, like casings, to help it lie better against the wall. Baseboards, however, are usually thinner than casing stock. This is because casing frequently has a rounded outside edge, and a somewhat thinner baseboard can be butted against this edge without looking awkward.
Standard baseboard comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and custom shapes can be made in the shop with a tablesaw, router, or shaper. Another way of getting a unique baseboard profile is to assemble it from combinations of standard moldings, as shown in the drawing in the article. There’s really no end to the shapes…